Students create a new way to learn a new language

One of the best ways to become fluent in a new language is to be fully submerged in the particular culture where one is constantly speaking and hearing the language. This is not feasible for many people. It is difficult to leave behind life’s responsibilities and relocate to a new part of the world which prevents many people from becoming completely fluent in foreign languages.

A new website called blahblah.co has created a solution to this problem. There are many language websites available but blahblah.co is unique because it facilitates foreign language learners’ conversations. It is also not expensive for users and it provides a good conversation structure with native speakers.

The blahblah.co team is comprised of four members: Cofounder Emigdio Niquet, student and cofounder Daniel Niquet, web developer and COO Eliecer Trillos and UVU graduate and CMO Thulio Frota da Ponte. Each member of the team has contributed to the development and progress of the website. There is now a Facebook page, a YouTube video and several press articles dedicated to promoting the website.

Users of the website are paired with speakers who are learning the other’s native language over video chat. Each pair is given five minutes to speak in the foreign language they are learning, and then five minutes to speak in their native tongue.

“In doing this,” Niquet said, “they grow from basic to more experienced fluency in conversational skills by sharing parts of themselves and their culture with others around the world and vice versa.”

The website also offers helpful tools such as dictionaries, books, music, television clips, flash cards and computer games.

The passion that Niquet has for languages and business and the hard work of each team member has helped this website grow. On Nov. 22, the team launched the beta version which allowed users to interact with one another. Their Facebook page received 270 likes in the first week, and now they are beginning to work with universities.

On Nov. 26, Deborah Ferreira, head of the Portuguese department, accepted to “test the implementation of the program as an extra tool for UVU students.” According to Niquet, this has “opened the door for future growth among universities around the world.”

They are continuing to work with the Portuguese students and they hope to expand their website to other languages offered in schools across Utah Valley.

Melissa Lindsey is a senior at Utah Valley University studying communication with an emphasis in journalism. Contact her at lindsey.mml@gmail.com

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